Judge orders accused Thornton Walmart shooter Scott Ostrem to undergo competency evaluation

Ostrem filed motion to represent himself in case
Posted at 12:14 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 22:13:23-05

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – The man accused of shooting and killing three people at a Thornton Walmart in November was ordered Wednesday to undergo a mental health evaluation at a state hospital in Pueblo after he filed a motion to represent himself in the case.

Scott Ostrem appeared in an Adams County courtroom Wednesday in a last-minute motions hearing. His preliminary hearing was already set to happen Feb. 5.

In court, he announced he’d filed a motion to represent himself in the case. Ostrem was formally charged in November with six counts of first-degree murder and 30 counts of attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference.

Ostrem’s defense argued Wednesday that he was incompetent, and the judge cleared the court for a discussion between parties.

After the talks, the judge ordered Ostrem be sent to a state hospital to determine whether he’s competent to represent himself before making a final ruling on the motion. But the judge made clear that the evaluation order was not made solely off the fact that Ostrem motioned to represent himself.

Ostrem addressed the court after the judge’s competency order, and asked the judge if the case could still proceed on-schedule were he to drop his motion to represent himself.

But the judge upheld his order for Ostrem to be taken to Pueblo for the evaluation, thus delaying the preliminary hearing that had been set for next week. A competency hearing is set for April.

In addition to the dozens of felony charges Ostrem faces, he was also charged with a sentence enhancer that would double any prison and parole time he might face if convicted.

Law enforcement officials told Denver7 in November that they were looking into Ostrem’s mental health history, and Ostrem’s sister told The Denver Post that he’d allegedly heard voices in his head for years after an LSD trip.

Ostrem had a history of run-ins with the police—most recently a driving while ability impaired conviction in Wheat Ridge in 2014. Neighbors said he was “weird” and kept to himself. Another neighbor told Denver7 Ostrem came off as rude and unapproachable.

Ostrem walked off his roofing job the morning he allegedly walked into the Thornton Walmart and shot and killed 52-year-old Pamela Marques of Denver, 66-year-old Carlos Moreno of Thornton, and 26-year-old Victor Vasquez of Denver.